A New Code for Anonymous Web Use | WIRED

A New Code for Anonymous Web Use | WIRED

NEW YORK — Peer-to-peer networks such as Morpheus and Audiogalaxy have enabled millions to trade music, movies and software freely. A group of veteran hackers is about to unveil a new peer-to-peer protocol that may eventually let millions more surf, chat and e-mail free from prying eyes. Hacktivismo, a politically minded offshoot of the long-running hacker collective Cult of the Dead Cow, will announce the protocol — called “Six/Four, ” after the June 4, 1989 massacre in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square — in a presentation Saturday at the H2K2 hacker conference in New York group will publish the Six/Four code on its website in early August to coincide with Las Vegas’ DefCon security combines peer-to-peer technologies with virtual private networking and the “open proxy” method for masking online identities to provide ultra-anonymous Internet rtual private networks, also known as “tunnels, ” allow one computer to establish direct, secure communications with another over the Internet. Banks and government agencies use these VPNs all the time for money transfers and talks that they want kept aditional VPNs take the information along a single path from Point A to Point B. Six/Four’s route is more circuitous, sending its tunnel through a series of computers on its peer-to-peer network before heading to the public Internet. Data goes from Point A to Point K to Point Z to Point G, only eventually winding up at Point B. “It’s like a highway that’s redesigned for every Brinks truck that rides on it, ” said Oxblood Ruffin, Hacktivismo’s this roller-coaster ride is over — the end point is called a “trusted peer” in the Six/Four scheme — the information then makes its way to the Web pages, chat sessions and file servers of the open rrently, hackers and other privacy-minded folk go through “open proxies” — misconfigured corporate servers — to mask their identities before chatting or visiting Web pages. It’s a little like snail-mailing a letter from a post office box in another state. “Theoretically, for every server in between you and the destination server, another search warrant is required to view that computer’s logs, if they still exist, to get your IP (Internet Protocol) address, ” said a former dot-com technology executive who’s now an open-proxy takes this about 100 steps further by adding layer after layer of additional anonymity, because “each link in the chain only knows the link immediately before, not the final destination, ” said “The Mixter, ” the 23-year-old German hacker who authored Six/ Mixter is best known for his “Tribe FloodNet” program, which makes possible the distributed denial-of-service attacks popular with online curity experts, for the most part, are impressed with what they’ve seen so far of The Mixter’s latest work. “If it’s implemented properly, it could be on the scope of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), ” said Chris Wysopal, of the security firm @Stake, referring to the 1990s e-mail security Henson, chief scientist of the peer-to-peer software maker Open Cola, added, “It’s at least a first crack at a working model of the next phase of the Internet — secure communications by trusted peers over an untrusted network. “Some hackers were unimpressed, however, calling it little more than a regurgitation of long-standing programs. “Yes, it is a cobbling (of existing technologies), Wysopal replied in an e-mail. “But these technologies in an integrated, easy to use system is worth much more than the sum of the parts. ” Wysopal’s company employs several former Cult of the Dead Cow the name implies, Six/Four is meant to promote an agenda of individual liberties.
Internet Anonymity -

Internet Anonymity –

Internet Anonymity
“The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one’s privacy as possible…. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation — and their ideas from suppression — at the hand of an intolerant society. ”
– McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, 514 U. S. 334 (1995)
Recent News |
Earlier articles |
Anonymity Links |
Legal Materials
A majority of Internet users feel that the medium’s most valuable asset is anonymity – the ability to conceal one’s identity while communicating. Users are able to post to message boards, converse in chatrooms, and visit informational sites while keeping their names and addresses private. This anonymity allows the persecuted, the underserved, and the simply embarrassed to seek information — and disseminate it — while maintaining their privacy and reputations in both cyberspace and the material world.
Similarly, there are strong incentives for whistle-blowers to remain anonymous. For example, individuals seeking to publicize atrocities in war-torn Kosovo recently had their identities protected by an online “concealer. ”
In the past year, as the popularity of online message boards has continued to increase, the veil of anonymity increasingly has come under attack. Corporations, seeking to identify those who have voiced critical opinions about the firms’ business practices, have initiated a wave of “John Doe” lawsuits seeking the identities of anonymous Internet posters.
Recent News Articles
Bad-mouthing Businesses on the Internet Can Be Risky (Topeka Capital-Journal – August 2, 1999)
Bank Sues ‘John Doe’ Over Rumors (Palm Beach Post – August 2, 1999)
Surfing the Message Boards(St. Petersburg Times – August 2, 1999)
Unmasking Anonymous Posters (Wired News – July 29, 1999)
Bank Sues Anonymous Net Huckster ( – July 28, 1999)
Lilly Files Message Board Defamation Suit ( – July 28, 1999)
Lilly Industries Sues Net Critics (Indianapolis Star – July 28, 1999)
Jean Bernhard Buttner Fights Web Smears and Her Brother Van (New York Observer – July 19, 1999)
Company Settles Suit Against Online Critic (New York Times [free registration required] – July 16, 1999)
Court Dismisses Case Against AOL Member ( – June 30, 1999)
Study: Online Anonymity Critical (Wired News – June 29, 1999)
AOL Fights Phoenix Subpoena (Orlando Business Journal – June 28, 1999)
Americare Health Scan Files Libel Suit (Yahoo Finance – June 18, 1999)
Telco Files Net Defamation Suit ( – June 8, 1999)
ISP Reveals Scientology Critic (Wired News – June 8, 1999)
Scientology’s Online Battle (Wired News – June 3, 1999)
Scientology Subpoenas Worldnet ( – June 3, 1999)
Takes a Stand Against “Cybersmear” Defamation Campaign ( – May 27, 1999)
Raytheon Triumphs Over Yahoo! Posters’ Anonymity ( – May 24, 1999)
Raytheon Drops Suit Over Internet Chat (NY Times [free registration required] – May 22, 1999)
Brokerage Files Net Defamation Suit ( – May 20, 1999)
Private Personal Computing? (Law News Network – May 18, 1999)
State College Man Pays Large Penalty for Internet Attack on Company (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – April 29, 1999)
Electronic Bulletin Boards Carry Corporate Criticism (Nashville Tennesseean – April 25, 1999)
Caveat Poster ( – April 20, 1999)
Bloomberg Sues Over Bogus Site (Wired News – April 13, 1999)
Anti-Shoney’s Notes on Web Message Board Prompt Suit (Nashville Tennesseean – April 10, 1999)
Phoenix Wages Net War(Orlando Business Journal – March 22, 1999)
Companies Fight Anonymous Critics with Lawsuits (NY Times [free registration required] – March 12, 1999)
Earlier News Articles
Slander Suit Served Against Yahoo! Users ( – March 9, 1999)
Anonymous Posting Under Attack ( – March 9, 1999)
Net Rumors Fry Stock Guru(Wired News – March 9, 1999)
Company Trolls for Scuttlebutt on the Internet (New York Times [free registration required] – March 8, 1999)
Yahoo Targeted Over Board Postings ( – March 7, 1999)
Yahoo Message Board Suit Continues ( – March 1, 1999)
Grant Street’s Cybergossip(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – January 30, 1999)
Internet Attacks Bring Man Charges, Suit, Suspension (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – November 8, 1998)
Sticks and Stones on theNet (Wired News – November 5, 1998)
Yahoo Shifts Message Board Policy ( – September 16, 1998)
Yahoo Message Board Users Sued ( – September 9, 1998)
Firm Files Suit Against Yahoo Finance Users ( – September 9, 1998)
Paper Gets AOL Member Name(Wired News – July 21, 1998)
AOL Reveals User Name in Court Case ( – July 18, 1998)
J’accuser Beware (The Globe and Mail – July 13, 1998)
Yahoo! Yanks Investor Gossip (Wired News – July 10, 1998)
Finance Sites Walk Fine Line ( – June 18, 1998)
AOL Reaches Agreements with Sailor, Shareholders ( – June 12, 1998)
Sailor: Navy Asked, AOL Told (Wired News – January 12, 1998)
Online Stock Talk Fuels Lawsuit ( – September 17, 1997)
Bounty Offered for Stock Tipster ( – September 5, 1997)
Satanist Sues ISP to Silence Usenet Poster (Wired News – May 20, 1997)
prognostication: Pitfalls of the Trading Pit ( – August 22, 1996)
You Can Be Anonymous
ZDNet Online Privacy Guide
Anonymity Guaranteed on the Internet ( – April 27, 1999)
Invisible on the Web(Wired News – June 23, 1998)
Is Web-based E-mail Bad for Your Anonymity? (Wired News – February 26, 1998)
Faceless Freedom on the Net (Wired News – November 25, 1997)
Zero-Knowledge Guarantees Anonymity for Browser Users ( – February 11, 1999)
Anonymity by Degrees(Wired News – October 1, 1997)
How Hackers Cover Their Tracks ( – January 25, 1999)
Covering Your Tracks Via a Helping Hand (Wired News – June 10, 1997)
Scientists Back Anonymous Web Messaging ( – July 5, 1999)
The Current Law
Section 2703(c) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) permits ISPs to disclose information on their subscribers to all non-governmental entities. While the section requires governmental entities to present subpoenas or court orders for such information, it allows ISPs to disclose subscriber information to private individuals or entities without legal authorization. This absence of protection came to the forefront in late 1997 when a Naval investigator phoned America Online, failed to identify himself as an agent of a governmental entity, and obtained the identity of an AOL user who described himself as “gay” in his one of his several AOL profiles. While AOL violated its own privacy policy by disclosing the subscriber’s identity (and later settling with the subscriber), it was not clear whether there was any violation of the law. In its decision in McVeigh v. Cohen, the federal court in Washington suggested that ECPA may have been violated and ordered the Navy to discontinue its discharge proceeding against the sailor. The episode suggests that an amendment to ECPA requiring legal process for disclosure of user information to anyone is long overdue.
Judge Rules ISP, Server Location May Determine Jurisdiction, June 11, 1999
Ruling Has AOL Members on Alert, June 11, 1999
ABA Project on Internet Jurisdiction
Notable Cases
McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission
“Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. ”
NAACP v. Alabama
“Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs. ”
ACLU v. Zell Miller
Talley v. California
Complaint in John Doe v. Yahoo! (Aquacool Case) (pdf).
Press release in John Doe v. Yahoo!
EPIC and ACLU Release in John Doe v. Yahoo!, May 11, 2000.
Watchtower Bible Decision.
Anglers Anonymous: Katy Saltwater Fishing Store

Anglers Anonymous: Katy Saltwater Fishing Store

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